By Chris Pride
For The Daily Item
---- — LEWISBURG -- It wasn't the execution on the either end of the floor that posed a problem for the Bucknell women's basketball team Wednesday night. It was trying to find that finishing touch.
The Bison nearly erased a 10-point halftime deficit, however, they couldn't quite capitalize off turnovers like visiting Canisius.
Despite playing a more balanced second half, Bucknell was painfully reminded that it takes two full halves to win games. The Golden Griffins turned 23 turnovers into 21 points, while the Bison only cashed in for 10 off 24 takeaways, ultimately providing the difference in a 55-47 setback at Sojka Pavilion. It was the seventh straight loss for Bucknell.
"What I did like was our hustle in the second half," said Bucknell coach Kathy Fedorjaka. "We used a lot of bodies and I think our defensive pressure is how we have to play to create offense. I liked the trapping, it created a lot of turnovers, but we just have to finish it off."
"In the first half we were able to do what we do and that's give our post players some action," said Canisius coach Terry Zeh. "We played very poorly in the second half because they made us. They took away our running offense didn't allow us to make very good basketball plays over a couple long stretches. I finally decided to go to four guards so that we could make some plays on the perimeter down the stretch."
Bucknell shaved its deficit to three a trio of times in the second half, but couldn't get over the hump as Canisius seemed to answer each Bison charge. Ashley Wilkes paced Canisius (2-3) with a game-high 15 points off the bench on a blistering 7-of-10 shooting. Alyssa Dunn, likewise, came off the bench to provide a spark for Bucknell, leading the way with 13 points.
The Bison (1-7) never led and never fully recovered from a poor 16-point first half in which they shot just 25 percent from the field. Canisius pushed its lead to 10 midway through and never looked back, despite being threatened late.
"When you get down by 10 or 11, it's a grind to get back up," said Zeh.
Bucknell utilized a better full-court trap throughout the second half in an attempt to get back in the game. The Bison did so by forcing 15 turnovers over the final 20 minutes, pulling to within a possession after Dunn's final field goal with 10:09 left. However, each time Bucknell threatened, Canisius responded by upping the lead back to two or three possessions in a matter of minutes.
"We were trapping in the half court when we were down 10," Fedorjaka said. "We tried to extend the pressure got more turnovers but just needed a few more bodies if were to play that style."
An early 12-3 run for Canisius in the first half helped dictate the tempo as Bucknell missed a number of shots inside 6 feet. Two of the Golden Griffins' three 3-pointers came during that spurt as Wilkes had nine of her 15 points in the opening 20 minutes.
After reaching its largest deficit at 11 with 16:24, Bucknell went on a mini surge (13-6) over the next six minutes to pull to within three. Canisius though, pushed the lead back to 10 over the next five minutes.
The Bison then scored the next seven points in just over a minute and a half to once again pull to within a possession with just under four minutes to go. However, Bucknell managed just three free throws the rest of the way as Micki Impellizeri's bucket with 3:53 left was the team's last.
"I think the pieces are there and this is an exciting team, it's just not all of them are coming together at the same time," said Fedorjaka.
Bucknell travels to the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Saturday before returning home to play Fordham on Dec. 6.